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Wednesday, 22 August 1984
Page: 209

(Question No. 911)


Senator Chipp asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 29 May 1984:

(1) What defence research projects operated by another nation or by joint agreement with another nation are Australian scientists working on presently.

(2) What are the titles, dates of initiation, purposes and dates of expiry of each of those agreements.


Senator Gareth Evans —The Minister for Defence has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) The Parliament is aware that Australia has participated since 1965 in the technical co-operation program (TTCP) which is a multi-lateral arrangement under which Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom and United States co- operate and exchange information over a wide range of defence science and technology.

In addition, Australia has bilateral memoranda of understanding on co-operative research and development with United States, United Kingdom and New Zealand.

(2) The US/Australia memorandum of understanding on co-operative research and development was established in July 1968 for an indefinite period. The purpose of this MOU is to facilitate an interchange of information between the US Department of Defence and the Australian Department of Defence in order to identify areas of research, development and engineering which could, to their mutual advantage, be undertaken co-operatively. Areas thus identified are analysed further to determine, in detail, what arrangements may be appropriate for sharing costs or work to implement co-operative programs in such areas. The object of such co-operation is to utilise, to the best advantage and to the mutual benefit of the two countries, the resources allocated to defence science and technology.

Current project arrangements under this MOU include:

(a) Influence of the environment on properties of fibre composite materials. The purpose of this project is to study the degradation in mechanical properties of carbon fibre reinforced plastic produced by exposure to various environments. The results of this effort will be useful to both countries in providing information on the likely performance of this material in Service equipment under operational conditions. This project arrangement was initiated in May 1975 and will be completed soon when the results of some long term exposure tests have been documented.

(b) Electrical guns and launchers and pulsed power conditioning. The honourable senator's attention is drawn to the answer given by the Minister for Defence in response to Mr Scott's question No. 1486 for details of this project arrangement .

(c) Low cycle fatigue in aircraft engines. The purpose of this project arrangement is to increase the life of engine components by developing a better scientific understanding of crack propagation behaviour, improving the non- destructive evaluation techniques for detection and characterisation of small defects and cracks in components and assessing the feasibility of extending the life of engine components by introducing a 'life extension/retirement for cause' component life philosophy. This project arrangement was initiated in August 1980 and due to expire in August 1984. It is being renegotiated for a further period.

(d) Acoustic emission. The purpose of this project arrangement is to validate techniques for monitoring and interpreting acoustic emission in critical airworthiness situations. In general terms it is necessary to characterise acoustic emission signals arising from crack growth and from various extraneous happenings such as corrosion, fretting and fastner movement so that measurable differences between these signals will be established. This project arrangement was initiated in August 1980. It has been essentially completed and the final report is in preparation.

(e) High Frequency over-the-horizon radar. The purpose of this project is to co -operate on research relevant to High Frequency (HF) over-the-horizon radar technology and the application of this technology to various threat scenarios. This current project was initiated in July 1980 and is due to expire in 1985.

(f) NAVSTAR global positioning system. The purpose of this project is co- operation on research relevant to the application of satellite navigation and the techniques and problems arising from the use of satellites in military navigation. This project was initiated in June 1982 and is due to expire in 1987 .

The existence and nature of other projects under this MOU are classified by agreement between United States of America and Australia and are, therefore, not available for public release.

The memorandum of understanding between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia concerning co-operative research and development was established in 1978 for an indefinite period. Activities conducted under this MOU are classified by agreement between both governments and are, therefore, not available for public release.

The memorandum of understanding between the Government of New Zealand and the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia concerning co-operative research and development was established in 1982. No co-operative activity has commenced under this MOU.